Thursday, July 30, 2009
Album review: Ashley Tisdale - Guilty Pleasure (3.5 / 5)
The battle of the sophomore's: I needed to purchase a new release to day and it was between the new Jordin Sparks, Demi Lovato or Ashley Tisdale album--"Battlefield" was a decent single, but reviews for Jordin Spark's, Battlefield, haven't been that convincing (except for a pretty exceptional review I read on Nikki's blog), I've never been than much of a fan of Demi Lovato so Ashley Tisdale the winner. I liked her first album, Headstrong, a lot--it was pretty solid for a debut effort. "He Said She Said" and "Over It" were fantastic cuts.
Tisdale's second album, Guilty Pleasure, is overall a very good album, but it's not that great. There's nothing abhorrent but only a couple tracks out of the 14 tracks really appeal to me. Opening the album is "Acting Out" a typical drum and electronic guitar, but decent pop/rock number. It's pretty neat but not a standout. The next two tracks are probably my favorites on here. First up is the single "It's Alright, It's OK" which is essentially a retread of P!nk's "So What," however, it's still a fine song. Just like "So What" it has a killer chorus. "Masquerade" acquires a great sense of darkening pop/rock that would be welcomed on a Kelly Clarkson album.
Other standouts include the gritty party number "Crank It Up" which sounds like it should have a faster composition, but features pacing layers of synth and rhythmic kinetic handclaps. It also sounds like it would fit in perfectly on the last album. I also really like the nice baroscopic string tinged and piano backed ballad "Me Without You" in which Tisdale gives a nice vocal performance. The breezy, radio friendly "Erase and Rewind" is in the same vein of Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold," soaked up with masses of attitude--I think it would make a good second single. "Tell Me Lies" isn't as rock styled as most of the stuff on here, apart from the electronic guitar in the chorus, it's definitely more pop, it also very melody stricken.
The album is surprisingly very ballad heavy (Headstrong, only had 2). "How Do You Love Someone" is a darkening number, well it truly shows off its dark theme when on the chorus. I'm not really a fan of it though. "What If" is more for a personal favorite--it's nothing outstanding, I've really taken to it. It's a general string, piano and drum ballad that really soars in the chorus as a result of its tender verses.
Possible taking inspiration from Kelly Clarkson's 2007 single "Never Again" is the revengeful "Delete You" which is actually a cliche moment of being pissed after a breakup, but it is a side of Tisdale we haven't seen before--a very fascinating side at that. It seems like a part 2 to "Over It" from Headstrong--the song was more 'ignore the situation' as "Delete You" uses lyrics like: ("ripping up all your sweaters, slashing up all your tyres, slashing up all your flowers, grabbing back all my power"). It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this takes up a pretty dark (but slightly jaunty) composition, it's currently my favorite track on the album.
The rest of the tracks (along with "How Do You Love Someone"), while not terrible, aren't as appealing as the ones above. They seem more generic within their assigned genre. "Overrated" has a pretty cool chorus, but it overall it sounds like it's been done a hundered times--as in--it could've been sung by anyone. "Hot Mess" is actually a misleading title, it's far from a mess--but it's nothing I'm interested in, maybe it could be a grower, but as for now it's nothing special. The tambourine struck "Hair" is a very jaunty number, but I don't really care for it, same goes for the closing track "Switch."
Allmusic comment on Tisdale heavy usage of her pop aspirations on this album in their review; everything from the Britney Spears' Blackout styled cover to the incorporation of elements of Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Ashley Simpson, Christina Aguilera and funnily enough Linsday Lohan. Out of the bunch I would say the album mainly uses inspirations from Perry and Clarkson the most. The forgot P!nk. Guilty Pleasure, is a good pop album but could've been better, maybe a little more originality could've drove the project that extra... yard or so.
Best: Delete You, It's Alright, It's OK, Masquerade, Crank It Up, Me Without You, Ease and Rewind, Tell Me Lies, What If